“My Yoke Is Easy, and My Burden Is Light”

Good morning. It is Sunday, March 1, 2015. March!!! February is over!!

36 more days until Opening Day.

Today’s word of the day is pennill. It is a noun, usually used in plural, meaning, “An improvised Welsh verse sung to a harp accompaniment; a stanza of such verse.”

Today is Fruit Compote Day. What is fruit compote, you ask? Well, the word “compote” simply means “mixture.” It is typically cooked, so it’s warm. Here is an example of a compote recipe (actually sounds pretty good). Simple Berry Compote.

We did manage to have our prayer and worship gatherings last night, and, much to my surprise, we had about as many people as we normally have, if not more. There were even some visitors! After our gathering, we went out for dinner with some friends. We went to On the Border, a place we haven’t been to in years. It was pretty good (Christi didn’t like her choice very much, but mine was quite tasty), and we had a wonderful time. In fact, they almost had to run us out because they were closing. In our defense, they closed early, because it was still below freezing, and there was still a threat of more precipitation.

This morning, it is 33 degrees (not warming up quite as fast as projected) with a predicted high of 47. I’m not thinking it’s going to make that 47 degree mark.

Since it was so bad yesterday, Christi is getting ready to go do the grocery shopping this morning. The roads are mostly clear by now, so driving shouldn’t be an issue. The store may be packed, though, and I guess it’s possible that they may be out of a lot of stuff.

I’m not sure what things look like, at work, so we may be asked to go in early tomorrow.

It was on this date in 1995 that Yahoo! was incorporated. Happy birthday, Yahoo!

Today’s birthdays (besides Yahoo!), include Sandro Botticelli (painter), Frederic Chopin (composer), Glenn Miller (trombone player/bandleader), David Niven (actor), Harry Caray (sportscaster), William Gaines (publisher MAD Magazine), Pete Rozelle (NFL Commissioner), Harry Belafonte (musician), Robert Conrad (actor), Roger Daltrey (singer), Alan Thicke (actor), Ron Howard (actor/director), Catherine Bach (actress), Timothy Daly (actor), Dan Michaels (The Choir), Javier Bardem (actor), Jensen Ackles (actor), and Ke$ha (singer).

Harry Caray was a sports broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. He was well known for his unusual voice style, and is frequently mimicked today. Here is a clip from You Tube as he broadcasts the end of the final game of a season. “Someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.” Sadly, he did not live to see that happen.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Psalm 19:8

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Our Source of Peace and Rest.”

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

These verses are very well known and popular. “Come to me,” says Jesus. Very clear. Very simple, right? “However, we have to admit that responding to his invitation often appears to be difficult for us.” For some reason, we seem to be “prone to accept other invitations first.”

There are many emotional, spiritual, and physical prices that we pay, just for being human. Work is hard, the load is heavy; there are multiple family and professional demands; community and church responsibilities mount up; marriage and financial issues cause stress and anxiety.

Even if we could get rid of all of that “baggage,” we would still have a “heavy load of sin” to carry. Sure, we try to do what is right, true, and good. We try to think on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable . . .” (Philippians 4:8) But we still stumble; we still sin; and this adds more guilt to our load.

So we seek relief. But where do we go. Some sources that we might seek out are nothing more than scams, designed to take our money. There is a seemingly endless supply of “self-help” material out there, even in the “Christian” marketplace. Some things we might turn to are addictive. We turn to books, TV shows, seminars, retreats, the list goes on and on.

“Jesus says, ‘Come to me.'” Only Jesus knows and comprehends what we go through. “He grasps completely what we endure and is not impatient with us because we may have made some wrong choices.” Even when our pain is self-inflicted, Jesus will still offer relief. In verse 29, he says, “I am gently and lowly [humble] in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” “He lacks nothing that we need for healing.”

For those of us who are believers, we “come to Jesus” initially when we make our confession of faith. We need to keep on going to him, “daily and many times a day.” The very fact that he bids us “come” means that he welcomes us “and listens to us at all hours of the day and night.”

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” This requires humility on our part. Plus, we have to be willing to be taught. “Going to Jesus demolishes our pride and self-sufficiency.” Perhaps this is why we are prone to go to so many other places before we finally give in and go to Jesus. We want to be able to handle these things on our own. When we do finally come to Jesus, we find that he does not burden us with religious rituals and tasks. In fact, when he says, “take my yoke upon you,” he is sharing the burden. He is not putting his yoke solely on us. He is inviting us to let him take the brunt of our burdens!

“When we go to Jesus and give him our burdens, our actual load does not disappear, but he takes away the destructive pressure and pain the load can have. Then we do much more than survive, we thrive in the power of his mercy, love, and grace.”

All of this enables us to obey Jesus’s commands in John 15. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (verse 4) In order for us to “abide,” we must first come to Jesus in humility, and share his yoke.

Father, help us to stop trying to take on our burdens alone. It’s bad enough that we don’t share our burdens with each other, much less bring them to you. Jesus has given us this clear and simple invitation, “Come to me.” Help us to do this, Father. Help us to come to Jesus with everything. I pray for humility in my life. I know this is a dangerous prayer, but I mean it. Without humility, I will try to take care of my own burdens. I need to do two things with my burdens. 1) Come to Jesus with them; 2) Share them with other believers. This is what our community of believers is for. We are there to share one another’s burdens. Teach us all to do this, Father!

I pray for the remainder of this day. Give Christi grace as she serves her mother. I pray that her mother will come to her senses and realize how she continuously uses up anyone who tries to help her. Help her to understand. I pray for peace in the family, Lord, between everyone concerned. I even pray that you would work in the heart of Christi’s sister, that she might be willing to help some. I pray for time to rest, later today, as we get ready for another week of work. Help us to abide in you, that we might bear fruit during the normal course of our lives. I pray for Stephanie, that you would work in her life, as well.

May we truly understand that, by coming to Jesus, we will severely lessen our load and the stress that it brings us.

come to me

Grace and peace, friends.

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